The Executive Interview: Tips to Get You Through the Process and Win the Job

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Don’t freak out!  Even if you haven’t interviewed for a job in years, there are plenty of things you can do to show a potential employer that you are THE best candidate for the job.  While the application/hiring process has grown into a more technical event, the way employers interview executive-level candidates has not.  Here are a few tips to help you nail the interview and get to the next step – being offered the job!

Get Your Ducks in a Row…

  • The HR Manager scheduled the interview, so you know the timeframe you’re working with to be fully prepared to knock their socks off at the interview. Keyword: prepared.

What are Your Ducks…

  • Map out your trip to the company and know how long it will take you to get there. If it should take you 20 minutes, allow yourself at least 30. Don’t forget about construction, trains, etc.-if you show up late, the interview will be over before it even started.
  • Spend some time researching the company. Know its product, customers, culture, mission, and financials. Being able to speak the company’s language is key in letting the hiring manager know that you really want to be their newest team member. Check out their social media presence as well. If they found you on LinkedIn, then they probably have a company profile set up on the site as well. View it, know it.
  • Plan your attire before the day of the interview. Do you need a suit? Or will a tie and dress pants suffice? Leave the dangely jewelry and smelly perfume/cologne at home. You don’t want to set of an asthma attack in the interview room, or even worse make them to have to fumigate the place when you leave-that just would not sit well.
  • Practice makes perfect….or at least may help! Review your resume and be able to speak in detail when talking about your career history. Research some common interview questions and be prepared to answer THE big question, “Why should we hire you for this position?” Be prepared to share concrete examples of business you’ve won, sales goals achieved, obstacles that have challenged you, and even things you’ve failed at and how you overcame those failures (just not too many of these…). Do you even know what your selling points are? Bottom line – know your strengths and weaknesses and be able to speak candidly about both during the interview.
  • Have your own list of questions for the interview committee, because you know you will be asked if you have any. Try to stick with questions related directly to job/company information and steer clear of asking about salary levels or benefits…save those for after they give you the job offer.

Supporting Documentation to Have on Hand…

  • Your Resume: Have enough copies of your resume ready to pass out to the people interviewing you. It is very common to have 4-5+ people interviewing you at the same time for a high-level position.
  • References/Recommendations: Have copies of your reference page and any letters of recommendations you have received. You may not be asked for them, but if you are-you will be ready.
  • Presentations: In today’s tech-savvy world, it would not be unheard of to have candidates using some type of media presentation to market their skills and expertise. At your level, financial achievements may speak louder than words, so including charts, graphs, etc. would paint a clear picture of the impact you’ve made during your career.

The Big Day is Finally Here…

  • Arrive for your interview 10-15 minutes early. Give yourself a quick pep talk in the car, check your teeth for spare remnants of your last meal, dry the sweat from your palms (baby powder works), and head into your interview. As an executive, you are expected to be calm, cool, and collected in any situation.
  • Greet the receptionist with a smile and be personable. First impressions are still important.
  • Smile when you are introduced to each person on the interview committee and remember, a firm handshake shows confidence.
  • Keep your hands on your lap or folded on a table to avoid tapping or appearing jittery. Make eye contact with the person asking you each question and try to look at the entire interview committee a little as you are answering a person’s question.

Preparing for your interview, bringing the right supporting documentation, and showing that you are confident in your abilities while speaking to individual members of the interview committee will help you to show them that they have picked the most qualified and deserving candidate for the job – YOU.

What NOT To Say in the Interview

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There is an unspoken set of rules that goes on in the interview.

And you are expected to know them.

These rules come from the recruiter or hiring manager. They have things they want to hear and things they don’t want to hear. How do you know what they are and how do you prepare for them?

Candidates practice their interviewing skills vigorously. They read up on what to say, how to answer. Dress appropriately. Smile. Follow body language. Get in front of a mirror and practice. Be on time, but not too early.

They go over their lists of strengths and weaknesses, their accomplishments, their contributions to the last job, what they offer this new company.

But what about the things they should NOT say? Interviewers are weighing what you DON’T say just as much as what you do say.

Here are 7 key things you shouldn’t say in the interview.

1. Salary. “How much does this pay?” is one of the worst ways to start a conversation. Don’t talk about it right away. The longer you wait, the more leverage you have when negotiations start. They know you are anxious for clarity but they are also interested in what their ROI will be before they make an offer. Wait it out.

2. Company. Come prepared. Know what the company does! Know their mission, product, or service. What do they do? Who do they sell to? Who is their biggest competitor? What were their quarterly and year-end earnings last year? Act as though you are the company ambassador. The more you know about it, the more impressed they will be. Telling the interviewer you are “sort of familiar” with their company will put you in the NO pile.

3. Your old company. Do not bash your last company, manager, co-workers, or the way they did things. It might have ended badly, but the new company doesn’t need to hear about it. It makes you look bad and will let them know that you will bash them as well. It also makes you look difficult or whiny. Honestly, when I talk to a client and all they do is bash their old company, it does send up some red flags. I also assume that the client will be difficult to work with (past experience tells me they will). Work out your feelings before going to an interview and leave it behind.

4. I need this job. Don’t let your desperation show. They know you want the job. They know you (most likely) need the money. Keep your focus on what the company needs from you and how you are the right fit for the role. You want to lead with your strengths and experience. They don’t want just anyone for the job. They want the RIGHT person.

5. I want your job. When they ask you “where do you see yourself in 5 years” don’t tell them you want their job. You might think it sounds ambitious but it could come off as arrogant or that you plan on leaving soon. Plus, you may be talking to a sensitive or worried manager who doesn’t know how stable their job is. Telling them you want their job may automatically make them defensive or turned off. Instead, let them know that you hope to gain experience and knowledge from the role with a promotion following.

  1. This is a stepping stone. If you know this next role is only to benefit your career through additional experience so you can move on to the role after that, don’t tell the interviewer that. They don’t need to know that you only view their company as temporary. They want to hire someone committed to the company and the role.

    7. Questions. Have questions ready! Expectations? Culture? What is a typical day like? How do you measure success in this position? What type of advancement is there? What types of challenges should I expect? Who will I be working with? You’ve read my resume and spoken with me, do you think I am a good fit for the role? Even ask them about their role! Going to an interview without follow up questions will make you look unprepared.

Interview don’ts are just as important as interview do’s.  Good luck!

 

I Was The Perfect Fit! Why Wasn’t I Hired?

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How many times have you felt you were PERFECT for that role, but still didn’t get it? You went over the interview in your mind a hundred times, noted how easily the conversation flowed, how they interviewer would nod enthusiastically when you described a certain experience or skill. They seemed excited when they said they would get back to you soon.

Then you got the email that you weren’t chosen.

Safe to say, I think we’ve all been there.

I’m a firm believer in if you didn’t get the job, something better will come along. Through the years, some of our clients have come back to us to tell us about interviews they nailed and were sure they got the job. But didn’t.

However, there are various reasons companies may choose a different route:

They decided to hire internally. As unfair as it sounds, they may have already had a front runner in mind but posted it anyway to see if there is someone better.  Some companies HAVE to post externally due to contract constraints or affirmative action plans. Federal contractors or government agencies may have to post externally as well.

You were overqualified.  Perhaps they think you won’t do tasks you deem “beneath you”. While it’s unfair for them to assume what you will or won’t do, it is a common concern. They may also fear that you will be bored at the job—especially if you’ve been on an impressive career track. Or, that after a while, you will leave and they’ll be back to square one.

You were underqualified. Thinking you’d be great in a role and actually having the experience to master the role are two different things. Read the job description thoroughly and make sure you have the experience to apply for the role.

They already had another candidate in mind. It’s possible they already found their choice but they had to have a certain amount of candidates to interview to fill their candidate roster. It might be company policy that X number of people need to be interviewed before a choice can be made.

Your online presence wasn’t professional or up-to-date. Hiring managers check your social media profiles to learn more about you. Turn on your privacy settings if you have personal pictures or information on there. Also, if you haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile in a while (or years!), now is the time to do it. Lack of LI presence can hurt you as well. Get it up to date.

You shared too much. I’ve talked with recruiters who said the candidate told them their life story—the good, bad, and ugly—and in the process turned off the recruiter. Keep the conversation on the company, their pain points, how you can help them, and that’s it. Don’t talk about your jerk boss, your sick parent, or a personal health problem. They really don’t want to or need to hear it. Keep it professional.

You didn’t know enough about the company. Be very prepared when you go to the interview. Research the company, its mission, what they do, what they sell, or what they are about. Research the role, figure out their pain points. Have questions ready to interview the interviewer, questions like, “What should I know about the role I am seeking? Do you have any other insight?” Be both knowledgeable and inquisitive.

Whatever the answer, you may never know. You might have done everything right and still did not get the job. It might have been narrowed down to you and someone else, but they went with the other person because they had more strategy experience.

Either way, you gave it your all.

About two months ago, an operations exec said to me, “You know, after three rounds of interviews, they finally told me I wasn’t chosen. So, I reached out to a few old colleagues that resulted in a round of interviews with a company I was never interested in and an industry I wasn’t very familiar with. But they liked me and saw what my vision was for their company–and hired me. It has been the best job I’ve ever had.”

If you are struggling with job search, hang tight. The right job will come along.

How to Minimize Age Discrimination When Searching for an Executive Job

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Whether you want to believe it or not, age discrimination is real when it comes to job searches. This is one of the main reasons why the top resume writing services suggest people in their 40s and 50s visit them to update their resume to make it look more modern. While there’s nothing you can do about your age, you can take some steps to make yourself seem younger than you are. When you give hiring managers no reason to question your age, you’ll have a better shot at landing the job. Here are some ways you can take age discrimination out of the equation when searching for an executive job.

Connect With Hiring Managers

Human interaction is critical for developing relationships. Your executive resume writer can craft the perfect resume, but it won’t do any good if you can’t connect with the hiring manager on some level. As you get older, chances are the hiring manager will be younger than you. You can connect with them by speaking in modern terms and focusing on the future instead of the past, as some of your experience could be outdated.

Demonstrate Technical Knowledge

You don’t have to be the most technologically savvy person to land an executive job. However, you also can’t be severely limited with technical knowledge. Having an online presence with a LinkedIn profile and being active on other platforms shows you’re keeping up with the times. Employers don’t want to spend time training and teaching basic technical skills, so if you already have those then you’ll be a step ahead of the rest of the candidates your age.

Modernize Your Resume

When writing a professional resume today, you have to include things you didn’t many years ago. Your LinkedIn profile URL should always be included. Remove any list of references, address information and non-relevant skills, as those elements are outdated. Working with an executive resume writer can help you quickly modernize your resume, whether it’s formatting changes or substantive updates. These updates are important because you don’t want the formatting of your resume to show your age.

Professional Resume Services is widely regarded as one of the top resume writing services. We work with executives of all ages to ensure their resume is modern and set up to succeed as they begin their job search. Details are critical in every job search today, and we are here to help you cover all of your bases. Never hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or need advice with your job search. 

What Do Executive Recruiters Look for in Candidates?

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If job-seeking executives only knew exactly what recruiters were looking for in candidates, their efforts would be made much easier. While you may not know a lot of the specific characteristics or qualities recruiters are looking for, you can get a general idea of what you need to include on your LinkedIn profile. A common misconception among executives is they should only write in a professional tone and talk about their achievements. This is only one aspect of what recruiters usually look for, though. Here are some of the other components that are always taken into consideration.

Positivity

Everything you put online either helps or hurts your c-level personal branding. Even if you left a previous employer on bad terms, don’t say anything negative about them on your LinkedIn profile or anywhere else. When you bad mouth them, a recruiter can’t help but think you’ll do the same to them if things don’t go your way, so it may not even be worth the risk of talking to you. Recruiters want to hire positive people to join their team, so always keep this in mind.

Social Proof Backing Up Your Claims

You should expect a recruiter to do a significant amount of research on you. Help them out by giving as much information as you think they will need on your LinkedIn profile. If you claim to be an expert at something, back it up with proof. Provide a link to your blog or website, if applicable, point to an article where you were recognized. Recruiters are always going to look for social proof to back up every claim you make, so be proactive and give it to them upfront.

Understanding Your Personality

An executive resume writer will always suggest inserting some of your personality into your resume or LinkedIn profile. Companies today are placing a higher emphasis on hiring people who fit their culture from a personality perspective. They want to hire people who will be there for the long haul, fit in with other employees, work as a team and provide unique value. You can easily demonstrate your personality without getting too personal, and an executive resume writer can help you if needed.

Professional Resume Services helps job candidates optimize their resumes and LinkedIn profiles so they are in a prime position to be recognized by recruiters. There are a lot of moving parts in a job search, so we are here to help make sure all of your bases are covered. The main thing is to be conscious of what you put online since it will always be taken into consideration by a recruiter. No matter where you’re at in your searching efforts, feel free to reach out to us for assistance every step of the way.

What to Know About Artificial Intelligence and Applicant Tracking Systems When Conducting an Executive Job Search

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is widely used in many different industries, and it’s only expected to continue to be utilized even more. It has particularly become more useful in making a recruiter’s job more efficient. Artificial intelligence can handle certain tedious tasks automatically when it comes to sorting through resumes, so a recruiter or hiring manager can actually focus on the human element of developing relationships. Combine this with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), which helps recruiters narrow down resumes based on keywords and other criteria, and it’s easy to see what the future may hold for executive job seekers. Here’s what you need to know about these aspects when it comes to writing a professional resume.

Hiring Professionals Are Using AI And ATS More

The combination of AI and ATS can save hiring managers a significant amount of time during the recruitment process and even onboarding candidates. By the time a resume actually gets to a hiring manager’s desk for a final review, it has already gone through many virtual checks to ensure the proper criteria was met. The top resume writing services can help you determine which keywords are most appropriate for passing through these initial automated checks. If you don’t have the right amount of keywords or phrases, you could just be spinning your wheels during your job search.

AI May Even Be Involved In The Interview Room

Once the best executive resume writers help you pass through ATS and lead you to get a job interview, you still may have to go through some AI tests. Some companies even incorporate artificial intelligence during an interview to detect a candidate’s body language, eye movements, facial expressions and more. These are often characteristics that are difficult for humans to detect but are important to do so when determining the honesty and personality of a candidate.

Don’t Spend Too Much Time Optimizing For AI and ATS

While AI and ATS are critical components to consider in your job search, the top resume writing services will still tell you to not let them consume a lot of your time. The best executive resume writers can help you pass these tests on paper, but you still need to focus on the human element of a job search, including networking and developing relationships. Basically, you should keep AI and ATS in the back of your mind, but don’t let those aspects take up a significant portion of your job search.

Professional Resume Services is one of the top resume writing services for many reasons. We help job seekers be more rounded in their efforts to increase their chances of being recognized, landing an interview and ultimately getting into the job they desire. In a world where artificial intelligence and ATS are starting to take over, don’t let them consume you. Be sure to contact us for assistance at any stage of your job search.

Know What to Research Before Your Executive Job Interview

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Doing your homework prior to going into a job interview can be the difference between being considered a viable candidate or having your resume pushed to the side. Companies want to hire someone who shows they are willing to do their due diligence in order to make a quality decision. Writing resumes that get you hired is great, but those resumes don’t guarantee you are a perfect fit for any given job. Here are important points to research about a company prior to going into a job interview.

Learn About Key Team Members

You can find out the names of key team members of a company by looking at the company’s LinkedIn profile. Take this a step further and learn a few interesting facts about those people as well. Discover what college they attended, how their degree led them to the role they have and anything else you deem to be relevant. When you research professionals at a prospective employer as much as they research you as a job candidate, you’ll be more likely to make a great first impression.

Understand Mission Statements And How To Apply Them

Knowing a company’s mission statement is important in a few ways. For one, you shouldn’t work for a company if you don’t agree with their mission and values. You also should demonstrate to an interviewer how your work ethic, personal ethics and daily actions fit what the company represents. Having this information in your LinkedIn profile is one thing, but it’s also important to be able to give examples during your interview.

Check The Latest Industry or Company News

When you’re able to talk about the latest news within the company or the industry they operate in, you’ll earn some solid points with the interviewers since it shows you’ve come prepared. The best executive resume writing service can help you relate your past experiences to the company you’re interested in on paper. It’s up to you to follow-up on those experiences with action by demonstrating you’re ready to get started working for them right away.

Know The Company Structure

A LinkedIn profile of an interviewer or a company doesn’t give you the total picture of a company’s structure. The title “executive” means different things to different companies, so if you aren’t able to figure out how the company is structured by searching online, then don’t hesitate to ask them in the interview. You need to make sure you fit within the structure so you know exactly what your role is if hired.
Professional Resume Services does much more than simply write resumes that get you hired. There’s no specific action you can take that will magically land you any job you want, and the work doesn’t stop once your resume is created. Doing your due diligence on a company will help you master the interview and put yourself in a great position to get the job. For more tips like these, feel free to contact us at any time and we would be happy to work with you.

How to Make the Best First Impression In Your Executive Interview

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When you get invited to interview for an executive position, you have one chance to make a great first impression. The challenging part about this is everyone has their own views on what impresses people most. Some people think using a big vocabulary will demonstrate their intelligence, but sometimes this won’t impress interviewers. Others may think working with a professional resume writing service is enough, and that the interview process is just a formality. The bottom line is you have to be careful with what you think is impressive versus what an employer thinks is. Here are some tips to help you make a great first impression in your executive interview.

Dress For Success

Some job interviews don’t merit wearing a suit and tie, so you don’t necessarily have to default to that look. Instead, dress for the position you’re applying for and make sure the clothes fit you well and you look sharp overall. You should have a professional headshot in your LinkedIn profile picture, so your attire for a job interview should be professional as well. What you wear to an interview shows how much you want the job, so dress for success and it will only help your chances of making a good first impression.

Rehearse Answers To Common Questions While Sounding Natural

Another way to impress your interviewers is to answer their questions fluidly and naturally. You can get some example questions from your executive resume writer and think about how you will formulate your answers. The only thing to beware of is sounding like a robot when answering them in the interview. The interviewers will likely be able to see right through you if you aren’t natural, so the practice questions should be used just to get you thinking about how you’ll respond, whether than preparing canned responses.

Don’t Be Afraid To Show Some Personality

Employers want to hire someone who fits their workplace culture as much as they want a person who meets all of the technical job requirements. While you need to present yourself as a professional, it’s also acceptable to have a sense of humor and show off a little bit of your personality. Your LinkedIn profile should be crafted in a way that hints at your personality type, so interviewers may be looking for it in the interview.

Avoid Desperation And Entitlement

Finally, two things you don’t want to do is show desperation or entitlement. Desperation isn’t attractive to anyone, and entitlement shows you may have some problems fitting in with other employees. So even if you do feel desperate or entitled to getting the job, be humble throughout the interview. Your chances of landing the job will decrease significantly if the interviewers sense either of these attributes.
Professional Resume Services is classified as a professional resume writing service, but we believe we are much more than that. We want to be involved in every aspect of your job search and assist you in any way we can. Making a good first impression in an interview is critical, so contact us at any time for additional tips on how to do it.